PUBLISHED 18 JUNE 2012 12:15
The last regatta at the Olympic venue until the games has yielded gold for Australia.
Australian sailors have had a good dress rehearsal for the London Olympics by winning four gold and a silver medal on the final day of the 2012 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta. The event was held in Weymouth, and was the last one to take place in the Olympic venue until the games begin.
One of Australia’s major medal hopefuls, Tom Slingsby, took gold in the Laser division, while Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page won in the 470 pairs. 49er crew Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen also managed a win, as did Women’s Match Racers Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty. Tom Burton won silver in his Laser.
An in form Slingsby, looking comfortable, won a tight final after a scratchy start. “It was a good day with nice breeze, shifty conditions and I managed to sail well,” said Slingsby. “I didn’t get the best start but halfway up the first beat I got a good set of waves, took the lead and managed to hold it from there.” The gold medal hopeful has won five straight regattas at Weymouth, but that certainly doesn’t make him any less hungry for Olympic gold.
“At the end of the day winning all of the lead up regattas to the Games doesn’t mean anything, it’s good for the confidence but I’d give up all five wins here for one good race at the Olympics,” he said. “Having won the worlds in Germany in light air and then racing here in the big breeze and coming out on top is a good confidence boost and shows that I can win in all conditions.”
The 470 men’s pair of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page had never won at Weymouth. They have won the last three 470 World Championships, yet have finished second on three occasions in Weymouth. In top form at the moment, they are on a winning streak of seven regattas straight.
“Going into this week we weren’t too worried about our Weymouth record,” said Page. “The last nine months have been phenomenal for us, our competition didn’t care that we hadn’t won here and to win this event wasn’t the main focus, it was all about learning the conditions and honing our racing skills, making Weymouth our home.”
The Aussie sailing team will be back at Weymouth with a vengeance come London 2012.